The Commerce Commission has rejected a complaint from a
Dunedin tourism operator who alleged bias by the Dunedin City
Council's i-Site staff.
The decision was conveyed to i-Site staff yesterday and
confirmed in a statement released by the Dunedin City Council
late yesterday afternoon.
Council i-Site manager Louise Van de Vlierd said she was
''delighted and relieved'' the commission had concluded the
visitor centre operated fairly and with robust processes.
The complaint was lodged late last year but confirmed only
last month, when the operator, who wished to remain
anonymous, claimed i-Site staff taking cruise ship
passengers' bookings were running a monopoly and favouring
some businesses over others.
The complaint came after Port Otago banned individual tour
operators from hawking at Port Chalmers, for security reasons
and following complaints about unprofessional conduct.
Dunedin i-Site staff instead operated a marquee on the wharf,
taking bookings on behalf of tour operators, but the
complaint alleged i-Site staff were charging different
operators different commissions.
Ms Van de Vlierd said two long-standing tourism operators
were on older contracts and were charged a 10% commission for
each booking, while other operators - on newer contracts -
were charged 12.5%.
The older contracts were due to expire within two years, but
Ms Van de Vlierd would be contacting the companies involved
to discuss lifting the rate earlier, she said.
The Commerce Commission had identified the contractual
''discrepancy'' but found ''no apparent breaches of the
Commerce Commission Act regarding allegations of
anti-competitive conduct had occurred'', the statement said.